a Room without Walls


Hugh McMillan
    Nine Works


A Quaint Dance

Her breasts are lighted mansions
they go on for nights (and on)
Irish Kings come to swill ale there
An arc of thin torts fountain
from her tiara and float
over cranial leather

A bumper flat as a tailgate

A satyr comes to the window
The withdrawal will be hers
He is patient (not a satyr trait
when payment is due)

The satyr
and the wispy arc
(its a covenantial thing)

She parts her lips and shows her parts
her scallops give a clam


The cause for pause
my palm sunk in tress
is your coconut husk
it's gentle heft
Milk suckles thoughts to fruition
pouring from double blue
pink and pearl
filling cups saying "Drink drink
fill yourself we'll be sated"
Bird of Paradise feathers
nestle my fingers
as I preen my hand away
and they fly~ well I would
have at the drug store but
I was in a hurry to get and go you
went fast by I thought
you saw me~ Gold isn't the word maybe
eldorado the motherlode
Veins fountain out of that husk falling
staining your shoulders in patterns
as the coconut globe turns
No painter could brush that but
I would

Penticton Winter

Scarlet wrap
(mmm buttery white lobster)
so short
serving perfect curve
red as frozen skin
boiling wherein
bathing bar patrons
(who don't seem to give a shit)
in sights all seen but
this red ellipse speaks volumes
(and I'll listen so close)
I say, "Have you shopped oceans of malls,
store to store paddling through
shirt racks and shirt piles
shillions of shitty shirts,
and there, look there,
an incredibly damn fine shirt perches
screaming `I am a damn fine shirt!'
and you say, `Yes you are indeed a damn fine shirt!'"
Her fire engine looks at you
the smile a howling siren
and that's all
last call

Night Shift

I'm reading
and a phrase on the page grew eyes
                          and looked over to the desk
I re-read the phrase
It was familiar
           but had lost it's sight

The desk held no clue
so      another line       and
How could the ex have written this!
No, that isn't it
Back to the book
            A face on a head
                            on a body
looked past
            whose face?
                         It saw something!
Head bobs
                      eyes pop
No one

At this rate I'll never
get this book read

After Night Shift

It was a long night I walked in at
5:45 a.m. and felt like Doc Severinson's
trumpet his finger hammered down veins
exploding off his face dangling little
shredded fire hoses squirting syncopated
blood couldn't close my lids if they were
tied down with railroad engines beer cans in the
fridge cracked before I locked the door a stogie
rocketed across into my mouth like an F-16 all
fired up a crashing brass band marching around
my head chest kettle drums pounding out
the skin of my t-shirt fingers
twitching like seismograph needles in
an 8.5 Richter beer triggering toilet filling turds flush
flush again paper rolling off like the weekend
edition of The Globe and Mail light arc welding in
not the end the start of a new day

Deep Pome

Deep in a fridge
green mold eats orange cheese bits

in diaperous depths
natures soft hues flow

crabs click and stumble
held under by Poseidon's puddle

firs thunder (unheard)
to the forest floor

deep in soiled sheets
wretched drunks fuck

blood nods to sleep
in subway veins

skeletons lurk

compressed between word flesh

you are stuck in your bottom
I in mine


There is peace here on the river
wrapped by freeways.

the hollow metal blankets
of trains and cars

so many night lights that if one goes out
the warmth remains

crews race to the rescue
if you're burning

you can stumble
into soft bodies

glass bottles of tart and sweet
flow from every block

sticks of weeds
cushion the night

and plumbing
washes it down

Not Ponce de Leon

Warm lounge
Reading at the rink
Below, painted ice
awaits possible legs
with pubic sprouts
and hairy brains

Denver is on the Green Bay 28

This guy writes from a window
Torrents of bloody ink
A wounded octopus
splaying eighty epitaphs

I am a worm
One milky vasectomy drip
comes where I'm cut
I have no suction
Short hairs
ring the toilet rim
A tap has hammered
into my once maple back
draining sweetness and bone

Favre throws an interception

On ice are pictures of youth
Pitchers of juice
I'm not Dorian Ponce-de-Leon-Gray

The Pack are pounding the Broncs

The girl has brought soup
it drips down my chin
and tastes fine

The Count of Monte Carlo

Actually a '61 Parisienne cape-top
So black it didn't reflect in a mirror
It sat the night driveway like ebony on velvet

Big Bob's hands span the wheel
Dad's grin beside
In back ten or fifteen kids corrugated
Bob says "Let's take er out on the freeway Doug
and I'll show ya the latest passin manouver"

We swing round the ramp
I am Jack in-the-Box
Ten or fifteen compressed coils
One metal finger

The dead staight 401 inhales our accordion
"Ya get up behind the guy ya wanna pass
like this"

A Maple Leaf doll can't stop smiling
out the passee's back window
His headball wobbles yes
then no
then like it's watching a tire spin

"Ya pull out to the passin lane
like this"
Ten or fifteen heads wag like windshield wipers
"Then ya punch it"
Ten or fifteen beans dent the seat

Lips pry open we're all Bozos
Mouth corners reach for second hand vinyl
We deke the Leaf like a hoop around a barrel
his jock cup spinning on black ice

We passed that way

A Mother's parted elbows and knees
clip a kitchen table wetly
A toy drops
pieces scatter

Man eyes leak
run the driveway to the street
Growing bodies walk
through finger cracks
And rarely pass again
Works in this Room copyright © 2001 by Hugh McMillan


Copyright © 1995-2001 Ted Warnell. All Rights Reserved